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The Odyssey

A queer take on the Dead White Male
By NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  May 9, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
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THE ODYSSEY: Davina Semo’s Book VI is a highlight.

As far as Dead White Males go, Homer ranks as grandfather to them all — the Odyssey remains a staple on Western Civ syllabi in colleges across the country. Andrea Lawlor and Bernadine Mellis tackle the story of Odysseus’s decade-long trip back to Ithaca after the Trojan War in the form of 24 short films by queer, trans, and women artists. The DWM institution doesn’t get subverted, exactly — the project follows a tradition of reinterpretation of the Odyssey. It just happens to be a more postmodern take than, say, Tennyson’s. The plot aligns with that of the epic, and helpful bits of text guide you from chapter to chapter. Davina Semo’s Book VI, when Odysseus encounters the virgin princess Nausikaa, is a highlight; Semo evokes a sexual mood with crude clay objects. Book X, when the crew get turned to swine, stands out for its painted wooden characters. There are some clunkers: Odysseus slaying the suitors, for example, is told by a woman sitting at a kitchen table.
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  Topics: Reviews , Andrea Lawlor, Bernadine Mellis, THE ODYSSEY
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